On May 8, a Twitter user named Hussain shared a video claiming that Air India, the national carrier of India, has charged three times the normal fare to its passengers under the pretext of social distancing.
In the 45-second long video, a male passenger can be seen arguing with the crew about the airlines’ commitment to ensure social distancing. He says, “We have paid money for this (journey). You are not taking us for Allah’s sake.” The irked man says that the airline is charging them $3000 for a one-way trip.
A female passenger in Hijab can be heard saying, “This is a shi**y flight.” The male passenger reiterates, “How many TV screens are working? How may seats are perfectly aligned? Keeping everything aside, ensure adequate social distance between passengers.”
Air India is charging thrice the amount of ticket on the Assurance that social distancing will be maintained in only one seat will be used and look What They Got this is the reality 👆🏻 pic.twitter.com/i498N8ZWPe— Hussain (@Hussain70419084) May 7, 2020
What is the Truth?
On Friday, Press Information Bureau (PIB) took to Twitter to clarify that the contentious video wherein passengers are seen complaining about lack of social distancing, despite high fares belonged to a “neighbouring country” (Pakistan). It confirmed that the flight in question was not Air India, as confirmed by the Ministry of Aviation.
#PIBFactCheck— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) May 8, 2020
Claim: Video on social media showing passengers on purported @airindiain overseas flight arguing over being charged thrice the normal fare & then packed in, without #SocialDistancing
Fact: #Fake video. @MoCA_GoI says it is from a neighbouring country’s airlines pic.twitter.com/Uww1zrHH5m
We found that the video of the same incident was shared by Pakistani users who confirmed that it happened in a Karachi to Toronto flight of Pakistan International Airlines.
The Twitters users from Pakistan also confirmed that PIA was charging $3000, which us thrice the normal fare for the flight, to compensate for empty seats they were mandated to maintain to ensure social distancing.
Fake News amidst pandemic
Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, images and videos from Pakistan are being routinely shared in India with misleading claims to further a specific agenda. Earlier, former Aaj Tak and ABP News journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai had posted an image that showed the chapped, rough feet of some children. He added the text, “Mother India ke panv dekhe hain kabhi”? which means, ‘have you ever seen the feet of mother India?
The post was shared on May 6, 2020. However, in his attempt to score browny points over poverty porn, Bajpai forgot to verify when and where the image was from. As pointed out by Twitter user @theFirstHandle, Bajpai had used an image that was published in a 2018 report by The London Post, in an article titled “Real Face of Pakistani Democracy- Children need a sponsor for medical treatment”.